Ten years isn’t as long as it used to be. When I was a kid, ten years was a lifetime. That’s probably because when you’re ten years old, ten years is literally a lifetime. When you get to twenty, ten years still seems like a pretty long time, and thirty seems really old. When you finally get to thirty, you don’t feel old at all, and you are starting to have an appreciation for how much time seems to be speeding up, but forty still seems like a long way off. Well, I’m almost forty now, and I can assure those of you who are still in your twenties, I only turned thirty about six months ago. At least, it sure seems that way.
A lot has happened since I turned thirty. I got married and had three kids, for starters. I was a carefree youngster ten years ago. Now I’m a really responsible guy known around the house as, “Daddy.” Our oldest son is six, but that’s impossible, because there is no way I’ve been a dad for over six years. We only had him a couple of years ago, max. At least, it sure seems that way.
The passage of time has a way of accelerating as you grow older, and apparently it really kicks into gear around age forty.
I noticed the other day that almost everything we bought or received right around the time we got married seems to be falling apart. The waffle maker is shooting craps, the gift-registry china is all chipped, the blender leaks, the ridiculously expensive duvet cover (that’s fancy-talk for blanket) is showing signs of wear, and don’t even get me started on the bed itself. Our California king now has two deep sleep-valleys on either side and a large mountain range that resides directly between us. If I want to visit my wife on her side of the bed, I have to get climbing gear and mount an expedition over the king-sized continental divide.
As I’m noticing all these heavily used items recently, I keep thinking, “This thing can’t possibly be worn out yet! We’ve only had it for a year or two.” That’s the problem with this time acceleration phenomenon we all face. If I stop and think about when we got the item in question, I realize it’s almost a decade old. But it still tends to be really aggravating, because it doesn’t seem at all possible that it could have been that long.
However, the things in the house wearing out are, unfortunately, not the biggest concern I’m facing right now. It’s the who in the house that is wearing out that has me really worried. Namely, me. I, myself, happen to be deteriorating at an alarming rate, and that is much more concerning to me than what has happened to the duvet cover.
When I was twenty I was damn-near bullet-proof. I could see like an eagle and run like a cheetah. My hair looked cool, my waist was slim, and my muscles were like steel springs. If I broke my leg at 4:00 pm it would be healed by 8:00 the next morning, and I bounced out of bed every day ready to tackle the world. I was poor and stupid, but I was quick and tough.
When I was thirty, not much had changed from that. I wasn’t quite as poor, and I was a whole lot smarter, but I was still virtually bullet-proof. Actually, I was probably only bullet-resistant at that point, but I still felt great every day.
Now, not even a full ten years later, I am a train wreck. My belly has become quite a bit fatter, while my butt seems to be disappearing. The vast majority of the hair on my head has left for good, and much of it seems to have migrated onto my neck and upper back. I have intermittent neck pain that can be temporarily relieved by cracking the vertebrae in my neck so loudly that it makes my wife jump. I’ve got a calcium deposit on one of my elbows that you could chalk like a pool cue, and my knees hurt when I go up and down stairs. I have a form of arthritis in one of my big toes that prevents it from bending backward properly, and my podiatrist tells me it will require surgery to fix. My good cholesterol is low, my bad cholesterol is high, and if I sit on the floor for more than three minutes I will be sore for the next three days. My lower back is completely shot, and I now actually wake up more sore than when I went to bed. I can throw my back out while sleeping. One of my shoulders pops in and out when I swing my arm, and I can now only sleep on my back because my arms go totally dead when I try to sleep on my sides. My night vision has noticeably deteriorated, and my hearing is going, evidenced by the volume of the TV these days. My teeth are slowly falling apart, my brain is rapidly slowing down, my taste buds are dulling, and I have developed some really wicked seasonal allergies that if I fail to treat with prescription drugs, can make me wish for the sweet release of death.
When I turned thirty, I had an ingrown toenail. That was the full extent of my medical problems.
I’m not complaining, mind you, just marveling at how fast things can change. I know all you sixty-year-olds are laughing at me right now, saying, “Just wait, buddy. It gets worse.” At this point, I just hope I make it that long to find out!
The upside is, the way time seems to be accelerating, it will only be three or four years until I’m sixty. At least, it sure seems that way.
See you soon,
Copyright © 2011 Marc Schmatjen
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